This year turned out to be quite an exceptional one. One we will remember. It will be either filed in the back of your darkest cupboard or on your bed side table. It might have devastated you at times and/or have brought you new opportunities. In what ever category you find yourself, I think we can all agree that it has been a year to re-evaluate, rethink and reset. And with a new year on the horizon, I think we are all ready to restart!
We have spent so much time at home that we all have a new appreciation of it. It has lead to making lots of changes in the house. Changes that either had been on the to do list for a long time or that have just improved our living situation. Many intimate dinners have taken place at the kitchen table. With the four of us, with friends and – luckily – also with family. We have spent so much time with each other that we are actually getting along better than ever before. Who would have thought. It makes you re-evaluate why we always have the tendency to fly out and find distractions.
Exercise has always been an important element in my week. Yet due to the lockdown, the Dubai temperatures and a few trending intolerances, I had lost my mojo a bit. So it was time to rethink my work out and food scheme. Joining the Best10 program was definitely a challenge. But I never would have thought that I could be this toned and healthy at 40+. Eating meals that nourish my body and doing exercise which pushes up my heart rate is now my new normal.
This reset has allowed us to change the way we are thinking about our businesses – Live Loud Girl and @fronteriors – which are luckily both still afloat. Maybe because we were lucky, also because we have worked bloody hard this year. Because although we are passionate about our business, it is not only passion that drives it. It is the combination of being good at it, putting in 25 hours in a day and never giving up.
What we all hope is that we will look back on this year and just think how this massive hick up (to put it mildly) has allowed us to become better versions of ourselves. Wether it is your business situation, your relationship, your work/life balance, your exercise routine…. there is always room for improvement. 2020 might just become a synonym for having no more excuses and making things happen! So let’s all reset and start the new year with some serious munition.
Just over a year ago, things shifted. Live Loud Girl had been evolving and finally we weren’t afraid anymore to say we were more then ‘just’ interior stylists with the focus on kids rooms. We see ourselves as a creative agency now. We have been allowing ourselves to get out there and take on bigger commercial projects. We focus more now on art direction, styling consultancy and building a brand.
Besides all this, my new business @fronteriors has been growing at the same speed as my kids. Together with my business partner @houseofhawkes I have been working around the clock to build a solid business. It has been all about finding a balance between following our gut feeling and doing what is commercially viable.
Although it was not intentional, both businesses complement each other. It is not possible (and not necessary) to draw a line between where one starts and the other one ends. Something that really came to show when I installed my own @fronteriors wall unit at home this week. Styling and furniture are two of my greatest passions. This passion and style have evolved over the years though.
Ingredients that changed my DNA
Traveling and living in different places in the world has definitely influenced my style, but also the way I do business. It allows me to push myself and be pushed by the people I have around me. My Dutch roots give me guidance and keep things very clear (ask anyone from the Live Loud Girl or Fronteriors team…). My time in New York has taught me to stand out. And the Middle East gave me the opportunity to follow my heart and actually bring everything together. All these ingredients make it my own and – hopefully – unique. Even though I am genetically Dutch, I feel that these ingredients have changed my DNA.
The new focus
My focus at the moment is on entrepreneurship. It shifted from becoming a stylist to building a brand and running a company. My dream and goal is to have @fronteriors grow into a healthy, confident brand which allows anyone around the world to welcome a piece of furniture into their home with a Scandinavian design feel. Live Loud Girl is still my platform to tell my story about style. It will still be the place where we focus is on inspiring home owners to let their homes tell their story. On showing how to work with what you have, and sometimes adding that LOUD element. But with both businesses I want to focus on style. Untouchable, transformable, ever-changable style.
Cooler days are on our doorstep which brings jeans, jerseys, socks and beanies on our mind. Our Northers European genes make us look forward to warmer winter gear I guess. We were very happy to be asked by Smallable to do a shoot for the brand Hundred Pieces AW/20 campaign. You’ve probably seen it on the boys before. They nearly always grab Hundred Pieces items from their wardrobe as they are soft, easy to wear and funky. This collection is a selection of offbeat essentials, which draws inspiration from urban culture and vintage sportswear.
As the boys are almost the same hight, so it’s very easy to mix and match. That is also the beauty of this brand. Even though we don’t know where we will be spending the winter holidays (Covid is making it impossible to plan…) on the fashion front we are ready for cooler temperatures.
Smallable is often our go to place for kids fashion. They have a huge selection of unique brands. It makes me happy to have the boys walk around in something different, that will stay in good condition and can be passed on to smaller crowds. It ties in with our philosophy in interiors: invest in a few good key pieces and you’re good to go.
Ok, it was definitely not the plan to do a make-over in the first weekend that we were back home from our holiday. Yet, most of the changes in-and- around my house are totally unplanned and spontaneous. And updating the boys’ room with this swap around is therefore no exception. With the new school year on our doorstep the timing could actually not have been better.
I landed the idea of changing ‘a few things around’ on the Friday evening which resulted in a full day’s work on Saturday. Luckily my hubby was on board. Because we soon realized that both beds did not fit through the door. So there was a lot (!) of unscrewing and re-screwing. And have you ever tried moving a book case with all the books in it? Doesn’t work! Although the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos might look good, the ‘in between’ was a total chaos.
Work with what you have
You might know by now how we feel about kids rooms. We feel that it is important to invest in a few key pieces and create an environment that kids can grow into, not out of. We also believe that to create a new vibe, you do not have to go furniture shopping. Just shop around in your own house and find what you need. You will discover that working with what you have, just in another environment, can look great!
It helps if you can work with a good base and color pallet to begin with. For this swap around I didn’t invested in any new items. You probably know the Oeuf NYC bunk bed from a long time ago. And my grandmothers cabinet and table have been with us for a long time as well. You might even recognize some golden oldies like the artwork, the collection of storage units and cute accessories in these pics from the archive. The point is that we do not pull out our bank card every time we do a make over. We love re-using items and re-purposing furniture that we once fell in love with.
One new item
The result of a days hard work for this swap around is that we have two different looking rooms again that make more sense for the boys. The only new item is the Surf Sign we developed in collaboration with Zoe Rumeau. Her works of art are also not new to us, we have worked with her many times before, yet this wall art was created with growing kids like mine in mind. And it is the cherry on the cake.
Spontaneous one-day make overs are the best! We are ready to start the new school year with this new vibe upstairs.